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Top union official fired over sexual misconduct called an 'open secret

Scott Courtney of the "Fight for $15" campaign was fired by the Service Employees International Union after allegations of sexual misconduct with his staffers. (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Service Employees International Union Executive Vice President Scott Courtney has been fired after an investigation into his conduct with female staffers, including sexual misconduct.

What did he do?

The allegations against him are "related to sexual misconduct and abusive behavior toward union staff," according to a spokesperson for SEIU.

Courtney recently married a union staffer. He was accused of nepotism, which is granting favor to an employee because of a personal or familial relationship.

Buzzfeed says several current and former SEIU staffers spoke to them under the condition of anonymity to reveal Courtney had carried on numerous romantic relationships with women staffers, and subsequently promoted them.

What did the union say about this?

An SEIU spokesperson released a statement to Buzzfeed about the matter.

"This morning, President Mary Kay Henry accepted Scott Courtney’s resignation as an elected officer and member of SEIU," the statement read.

"This comes a week after she suspended him from his assigned duties based on preliminary information that surfaced through an internal investigation launched to look into questions about to potential violations of our union’s anti-nepotism policy, efforts to evade our Code of Ethics and subsequent complaints related to sexual misconduct and abusive behavior towards union staff," it concluded.

Why is this important?

Courtney led a high-profile activist effort by SEIU called "Fight for 15," which advocated for $15 an hour minimum wage. This revelation severely impedes their credibility, especially among the women they were supposedly advocating for.

It doesn't help that the "open secret" of Courtney's alleged sexual misconduct sounds so similar to the culture in Hollywood that preserved Harvey Weinstein's ability to sexually abuse women for decades.

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